Slash amount of carcinogens in your BBQ

July 2, 2012 3:58:09 PM PDT
Health experts like to tell us we can eat and what we can't. They've told us that barbecuing is unhealthy. But we've found some ways to have barbecue and make it healthier. And we have the shortcuts you can take in time for the Fourth to make your barbecue a lot safer.

The trick is to reduce the time on the grill. Because when the fat hits the flames, that causes the carcinogens to form in the smoke.

"Trimming it so the fat doesn't drip into the fire is really the key element. And shortening the cooking time," Baylor Dietitian Molly Gee said.

To do that, Gee says cut your meat into smaller pieces.

"Individual ribs will cook much quicker than a whole slab of ribs. Quicker is safer," she said.

You can also precooked meats. We decided to precook the chicken in the microwave for just under two minutes.

Afterward, you can add the barbecue sauce. Gee says choose the barbecue sauce of your choice; she even pepped ours up a little with habanero seasoning.

"Just maybe a few drops of liquid smoke," Gee said.

M.D. Anderson experts say marinating meat for just 30 minutes in vinegar, lemon juice and an herb, like mint or rosemary, can reduce carcinogens by as much as 96 percent.

And lower the temperature on your grill. That too reduces carcinogens.

"The chicken is perfect, you've got the flavor with reduced cooking times. The pork ribs look great," Gee said.

But we blew it on the beef ribs.

"We overdid. Part of it was the caramelization of the BBQ sauce, but where you see the burnt crispy part that's the part you want to avoid. And if you have it, kinda scrape it off and don't fight over it!" Gee said.

So for those of us who like barbecue, this is proof you can have your BBQ and eat healthy too.

Cancer specialists at M.D. Anderson also suggest scrubbing your grill after each use that prevents harmful chemicals from building up and transferring to your food.


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